See, I caved and bought the recently released J. R. Ward‘s Black Dagger Brotherhood Insider’s Guide. After going through the 467 pages, I spent some time doing the “head desk” dance.
Live and learn, of course—fully 200 pages are either excerpts from the six books already out, or available through the online forums.
Out of the other 270 pages, only the first 80 are truly new reader content—a novella length add-on to Zsadist’s story. (And may I rant a bit about the lack of internal consistency in it? First we are told vampire pregnancy lasts eighteen months, then that Bella is on her ninth month, then that she has seven more months to go. Hello, math? We are told it’s been two months since the birth, then another character says it’s been three—in the same night. Huh? Yes, these things annoy me. Unreasonably so. And your point would be?)
Okay, there are also 25 pages of deleted scenes from several of the published books, ten pages of writerly advice, and (for some reason that escapes me) a copy of the original proposal for Dark Lover, first title in the series.
All the rest? a mix of irrelevant trivia (seriously, do we care what color is each character’s favorite?) and ‘character interviews’ that don’t actually answer any pertinent questions, but mostly regurgitate stuff from the books and/or the boards, with a bit about what the author intended with plot and characterization for each book—with me often disagreeing with the degree of success she achieved, but that’s neither here nor there, really.
I guess that this, going by page number vis a vis price, it’s no worse than buying an anthology for the one story out of four or five, and in that sense, I should just chalk it up to my idiocy and move on.
If I did that, though, the mature thing? I wouldn’t have cause to post on the topic, and I dearly want to post, so here I am, posting.
See, I’m quite irked by the repetition of inconsistencies claiming they aren’t inconsistencies; by the constant “more on that later” in every chapter I read—but no clue as to when or where that more would come, and finally, by the inclusion of questions (not just in the pitiful Q&A at the end either) by readers only to reply with a gleeful “oh yes, that; that’s a funny/interesting/important story… perhaps I’ll tell you some time.”
Still, I could try to pretend to be mature and shrug that off, but then there’s the stuff that actually freaked me out: the insistence—which I had seen before in the forums—that the characters actually exist and interact with the author just in the manner she describes. The whole, “Any inconsistencies are because I misinterpreted what I’m shown”…
Huh… shown? Yes
By whom again? Why, the characters.
Erm… schizophrenia much? *crickets*
Don’t get me wrong—I have enjoyed several of these fictional interviews between creator and character, some more than others. Personally, I think that the ones by Suzanne Brockmann are the best examples of these.
Thing is, while reading those I never get the not-all-here vibe I get from the ones by Ward.
Obviously, this is my problem, not hers, but there it is.
Now, beyond that bit of weirdness, and the many many many many complaints I have with the world building and characterizations and I’ll stop there now… beyond all that, this shit is addictive.
So if you hear of me getting anywhere near ready to buy the next book—which hello, hardback prices?—please be kind enough to remind me how much it hurts to hit one’s forehead to a solid wooden table for half an hour.